An exciting day yesterday. Germany (@DarrenK73) beat Portugal (@ali_spencer) 4-0! An emphatic win no doubt, but the highlight surely was the funny pantomime antics of football’s latest cartoon double act, Pepe and Muller. In a performance worth of Ren and Stimpy, Pepe flounced out an arm which might just have caught Muller in the neck with all the impact of a hummingbird’s feather. This hurt Muller so much he writhed on the floor like a mardy baby. Pepe was having none of it. In a perfectly executed slow-motion head touch he leaned into Muller, and (just as the very edges of their follicles collided), Muller pulled a face worthy of Robert De Niro in – well, in life.

Muller Lite

Having seen red Pepe saw red again. He had to go. It’s the rules. No head brushing in football. These professionals have heads like eggs.

So, Muller got a hat trick and Portugal, one cartoon character down, got nothing.

In other games:

Iran (@Freig) and Nigeria (@redorbrownsauce) managed a goalless draw. That’s a point each. @redorbrownsauce said on Twitter “I’m not getting carried away but Nigeria & Iran have more points than Spain, Portugal, England & Uruguay put together!” It’s an impressive point (and an impressive point each) and Group F is by no means sorted. The teams next play on Sunday when Nigeria takes on Bosnia-Hercegovina and Iran face Argentina. (I say it’s not sorted; Argentina will go through but who will get second place?)

Crikey, I’m being very serious today. I promise I’ll lighten up a bit when I get on to today’s predictions.

Last game from yesterday was Ghana (@fiona_butler) against USA (@Lindaannbown). Guess what? I predicted 2-1 to USA and it was 2-1 to USA. My first correct result! USA had been knocked out by Ghana in the last two World Cups so it was about time for a bit of revenge. The two USA goals came at the beginning and the end of the game, the second one only minutes before the end and only minutes after Ghana had equalised.

Clint Dempsey, the C&W named USA player, was booted in the nose by the Can-Canning John Boye of Ghana. There was blood. He just got on with things. Take note Muller.



BELGIUM (@hbnm1985) V ALGERIA (@lolers)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Mineirao (cap. 60,000 approx) in Belo Horizonte. The first game for these two teams in Group H (also known as ‘the group of preparation’). Chelsea player Eddie Izzard Eden Hazard is one to watch for Belgium, along with Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany. Belgium’s population is just over 11 million, Algeria’s is just under 38 million, but not all of them are good at football. My prediction:

Belgium 2 Algeria 1 (why break a winning formula?)


BRAZIL (@Mojorainbw) V MEXICO (@bluebox99)

8pm. BBC. Estadio Castelao (cap. 64,000 give or take) in Fortaleza. The second match for each of these teams and both with a win, so a win for either team tonight should see that team edging closer and closer to the knockout stages (Oh, I can’t work out the maths, but this is the game to watch tonight). Brazil were a bit lucky in their first match (favourable refereeing, the host nation blah blah blah) so they better pull their socks up! Brazil have Hulk and Mexico play in a green strip, which makes it all a bit confusing. However, Hulk has hurt himself and so may not be playing. If he is out of the game Brazil plan to play Reed Richards in his place. In goal.

Mr Fantastic to replace Hulk?

Mr Fantastic to replace Hulk?

My prediction:

Brazil 2 Mexico 2


RUSSIA (@chislehurst) V SOUTH KOREA (@anna_borowski)

11pm. BBC. Arena Pantanal (cap. 40,000 or thereabouts) in Cuiaba. Pantanal is a funny name isn’t it. It means Swamp. I think. Or bottom pants. Either way, I’m laughing at the language of Brazil, which is no way to behave. Sorry.

Do you remember Fabio Capello? He managed England in the 2010 World Cup. Now he’s managing Russia. He’s got something to prove after England’s lone win in 2010 (1-0 against Slovenia). Here he is looking like someone who’s got something to prove.

Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello

My prediction:

Russia 2 South Korea 3

Yes. I know they are random predictions, but what the hell; I’m not claiming to be Mark Lawrenson (I’m just pinching his facts).

If you have laughed at any of my inane comments or my (no doubt illegal) use of pictures please donate £1 for each laugh to Alzheimer’s Society at my Just Giving page here. At best you’ll only be donating 2 or 3 pounds. At worst, no, you cannot make a withdrawal. Please help me reach my target of £1966.

Here’s a song to end on:


Thriller- photographed by Tippi Hedren

Thriller- photographed by Tippi Hedren

I’ve avoided the whole Michael Jackson thing. Oh sure, I’ve posted a few, mildly cheeky comments on Twitter. But the truth is Michael Jackson’s pretty much passed me by, and once things started getting really dodgy, I just kept away forever.

Actually that’s not quite true. When HIStory came out in 1995 he craftily put a “free” disc in with it, full of his hits. I was nearly fooled. I thought it was some kind of bargain; a must have. We were touring at the time, and as was our style, we would spend far too much time in record shops. I’d loiter by the HIStory shelves, pondering Jacko’s stone pose. I’d pick up the CD and that would be when Trev, my comedy partner, would intervene. “Put it back!”

As simple as that. “Put it back!” A moment’s hesitancy and “NOW!” I’d asked him to act as my Jacko protector and he did a good job. The CD would be returned and Trev would lead me in the direction of Weller.

I paid a little attention when John Landis and Martin Scorsese got involved in making the videos, but surely Bad was just a blip in Scorsese’s career. Where was his Trev? Where was De Niro, pointing out the error, telling him to put the Jackson back? Now!

But, you know, the poor guy’s died, only 50, and, whatever his faults and failings, that’s sad. And those that are hurting are not just his fans, but his family and those nearest and dearest to him.

Like Thriller and Sabu.

Thriller and Sabu were Michael’s Bengal tigers, named after his album Thriller and his little-known duet with Terry Brunk Ebony and Slam Dunk (possibly) . When he closed his zoo, Thriller and Sabu had to pack their bags. Off they headed to the Shambala Preservea jam animal sanctuary founded by the gorgeous Tippi Hedren.

It may seem odd that a woman most known for being pecked to bits by birds should choose to work with animals. But not really, for The Birds isn’t true. It’s a story made up by Ed McBain, writing under the name of Evan Hunter.

And so Tippi told the tigers. “I went up and sat with them for a while and let them know that Michael was gone. You don’t know what mental telepathy exists from the human to the animal, but I hope they understood.” Me too.

Apparently, Bubbles hasn’t been told yet. He’s 26 now, and has a bit of a temper. According to The Sun he spends his days listening to “calming flute music”.

According to me Bubbles said “Give me calming flute music over Why You Wanna Trip on Me anyday.”


February 17, 2009


Sometimes I wish I was this man. In a way, I was. But only for a day or two and only for pretend. But sometimes it would be nice to be a cobbler, breeding pigs and slaughtering them to make comfy pig shoes for Robert de Niro (for that is what this man did). That’d be after Bobby de Niro had been upstairs to visit my son, the chiropodist, to have his corns and bunions seen to. And the sketch was called, quite naturally, Cobblers to the Stars. And some may wonder why we are not on TV anymore.

But if I was this man (and his name sadly escapes me) my days would be simple; cuddling a pig, killing a pig, making a pair of shoes out of it for, let’s say, Clooney. No! I feel great shame. There was no plan in this, I’m just writing as I podcast, making it up as I go along. And it’s struck me; George had a pig, a big fat pot-bellied Vietnamese pig called Max. Now no longer with us. He used to sleep with Max. I’m sorry. It’s all pretend. I wouldn’t really harm a pig. let me change that last bit… making a pair of shoes for, let’s say, Mickey Rourke. or Vince Cable.

Anyway, I’m not this man. This man doesn’t have to deal with Twitters and people writing on his walls. Someone’s just written on my wall! I don’t even have a house! How can I have a wall in a computer? What is Facebook? What is Twitter? What more things will I have to join? It’s call ed social networking. When I was a kid we called it going out to play. Or visiting. I made this “joke” last night at choir, and it fell, like my singing, flat. That’s because they thought I was referring to a social networking website called “Visiting”.

Oh, I moan. And no doubt, in thirty seconds time, I’ll be as addicted as the next twitterer.

Twitter – vb – to talk rapidly and nervously in a high-pitched voice.

When is someone going to start up You go on it, tell your 5678 followers what you are up to and you get back 5678 replies telling you to “Shut up.” And then when we all get fed up with that we start up Shut the **** and so on.

I’m not really moaning. I like it all really. Sort of. I just wish I had a job to stop me from doing it all. Some proper work. With pigs.

You can hear the various Confusions here:

New Order Confusion

ELO Confusion

The Zutons Confusion

moguls1I’ve avoided the use of a pic of Robert De Niro, or Art Linson, or Bruce Willis with a beard, or a bear, for fear of being sued by Hollywood Moguls. So here’s a pic of me and Trev posing as media bigwigs from the 20th Century.

But to the point. I’ve just finished What Just Happened? by Art Linson. The book, not the film. I’ve not seen the film, but I’ve read about it. And I’m left bewildered. What just happened to What Just Happened?

The book is a slight but a fun read, if you like knowing just what happened during the making of a handful of films over the last few years. Take this snippet of dialogue between De Niro and Linson, as Linson tries to persuade De Niro to take one of the lead roles in The Edge, a David Mamet-scripted wilderness thriller (Moguls Wood?) which sees our hero grapple with an irritated grizzly bear;

The bear worries me.

The bear?!… …what part of the bear?

You know, fighting with a fake bear. Might not work.

We’re gonna use a real bear for some of the time.

A real bear is interesting.

Well, then we’re gonna use a real bear a lot.

A beat.

The bear… the bear still concerns me.

Imagine De Niro saying this, and it becomes priceless De Niro. (in the end, Anthony Hopkins fought the bear).

But if De Niro is playing Linson in the film, under another name, then who plays De Niro? It seems the film has decided to use fake films instead. In The Edge Alec Baldwin turned up for filming with a ridiculous beard. Eventually they persuaded him to shave it off. He’s a method actor you see, with a double chin.

In the fake film, Bruce Willis has to be persuaded to shave off a beard. and it seems the bear has been replaced by a dog!

Art Linson’s book details the troubled production histories of The Edge, Great Expectations… De Niro again…

The convict’s gonna be a great part.

It doesn’t have a bear in it, does it?

No bear.

I might get interested.

… and Fight Club. Guess what? The suits didn’t like it. Now there’s a surprise.

But why is none of this in the film? (Note. Reminder. I haven’t seen the film… yet. But from everything I’ve read it’s coming from a completely different book.)

We’re missing a treat here. De Niro arguing over the bear. Baldwin outshouting his famous speech from Glengarry Glenn Ross. De Niro getting interested at wrestling a real live bear… you growlin’ at me?

But no. they’ve thrown the book away and made it all up. Surely, surely, even Art must be shaking his head and truly asking himself what just happened?

Note to moguls; I don’t know what the rules are here. Please don’t sue me for quoting from the book. I like the book. And I have no money.

if you like reading books that dish the dirt on Hollywood forget Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and go straight for High Concept by Charles Fleming and Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas; two of the most sordid books ever written and both great fun.